Released: Now on Kickstarter
Designer: Dominic Michael H.
EPT: 45 minutes
I first learned of the game when contacted by the designer asking if we would be interested in previewing the game before launch. After checking out the games page on BoardGameGeek I was instantly intrigued.
Hitman Holiday pits players against each other in a deadly battle in which each player acts as a hitman attempting to remove the competition in hopes of retaining their position in the assassin’s guild. Rather than spend 4 or 5 paragraphs explaining the rules I have embedded our preview of the game on Dice Tower down below; the first 5 minutes give a great guide through the rules on the basic game.
To summarize the rules; players spend their action points to move about a map of the island in hopes of recovering their hidden caches, taking care of basic human needs (eating, sleeping, using the restroom), planting hidden cameras, decoys, traps, and ultimately hoping to catch their target unaware so they may kill them. The game adds strategy and complexity in that as you hunt your prey you must drop clues overtime about who you are hunting; all while remembering you too are being hunted.
The game plays well and carries a good level of suspense; the luck is well balanced with the skill often granting more experienced players a minor advantage. The game is not of a difficulty, however, that prevents new players from quickly learning strategies and thus the balance equalises quite quickly. The game also ships with alternate play modes from smaller player counts than the game’s traditional 6-10 player assassin hunt. The 2 player gang war enables a competitive experience while the 2+ player evidence hunt alters the goal for many from killing to investigating.
When I first opened the box I was overwhelmed by the number of components; most of which are small circle chits and player boards. Once I everything was sorted and laid on the table, however, a sense of understanding settled as each component’s purpose became clear. The art on the pieces is fantastic and illustrates the card, chit, and ability clearly without need to frequently reference the rules or any other guides. Each character has variable powers, which frequent readers will know is a huge plus for me and my love for asymmetry.
The thing that stood out the most, however, was the custom miniatures. Miniatures are always an exciting element to any game and the minis that came with Hitman Holiday are fantastic; the final product will ship with unpainted minis but for those who enjoy painting or are willing to drop a little bit more cash to have them painted will find they look even more amazing once colorized.
The game’s theme is one that I enjoyed greatly. I describe it as Spy vs Spy meets Bang! meets Battlestar Galactica (or any other hidden role game really). As players hunt one another laying traps, decoys, and cameras the element of Spy vs Spy is strong; what can I do now to help me later is a common thought in the back of player’s minds. Much like Bang! there is a strong element of social deduction in both the offensive and defensive side of the game; how can I keep my target from knowing who is hunting them meets how can I find out who is hunting me? Then like Battlestar there is a lot of secret information; none of the assassins are cylons (to our knowledge…) yet each player can play cards face down so only they know the card’s purpose, each player holds a secret target that only they are aware of, and each player is thus seeking to kill their target without raising too much suspicion.
The social deduction plays a major role in this game as player can only kill their target or an unprotected assassin if they seek to avoid losing points as well as the guild protection. The deduction thus adds the element of secrecy as well as investigation. As players are forced to drop clues about their target the clues will often begin vague before becoming more specific.
You can check out the game’s kickstarter page by clicking the banner to the right; there you will find many more video reviews as well as more information and updates from Dom and the design team. As of this preview launching they are just over 46% towards their goal with 21 days remaining; so go give the game a look over and if it interests you give it a back; or send a link to your rich uncle that has a shady past…
Tomorrow we will return to our regularly schedule programming with Wild Card Thursday where we will look at something very different; the party game Wits and Wagers. Until then hit us up on social media at: